Driven by the demand to build ever more complex, large-scale projects in shorter and shorter timeframes, Irish Construction Services and Engineering companies have been at the forefront of introducing a range of innovative technologies and work practices.

One of the reasons why Irish Construction Services and engineering companies are so successful in winning contracts for complex, high-tech builds is the fact that they are at the leading edge of innovation in construction. They quickly adapt to the most up-to-date design, construction and fit-out processes and standards to ensure building costs are kept down and efficiency is maximised.

In recent years, Irish companies have been ahead of competitors in adopting digital technologies and Building Information Modelling (BIM). This intelligent 3D digital process gives architecture, engineering, and construction professionals the insight and tools to more efficiently plan, design, construct and manage buildings and infrastructure.

Irish companies have embraced the fact that BIM is more than just a tool but also a series of processes that help to speed up the building programme and provide structured, accessible information for clients after a project is completed.

They have started to extend BIM to incorporate 4D and 5D modelling, which allows real-time visualisation of a project’s progress and costs to be attached to different elements.

According to the Building Information Modelling 2017 report, published in May 2017 by Construction IT Alliance (CiTA) in association with Enterprise Ireland, Ireland has made remarkable progress in recent years in building BIM capability. It states that Ireland is as mature as any country in the developed world in relation to BIM proficiency and its widespread use.

More and more clients around the world explicitly ask for BIM in the design and delivery of new facilities and infrastructure. The National BIM Survey 2016 published by CitA and Enterprise Ireland showed that 76% of respondents were confident in their organisation’s BIM skills and knowledge.

A recent global BIM study published by CitA showed that over 50% of the 27 countries covered had a regulatory requirement or were planning to implement one in the near future. The UK Government made the use of BIM mandatory for any new central capital funded public sector projects last year.

Many Irish Construction Services and engineering companies have gained a foothold in the UK market, which means they have access to BIM frameworks and guidelines for working on BIM products.

Off-site fabrication is another innovation which Irish companies have focused on. Manufacturing components off-site means there is less room or opportunity for mistakes. It allows Irish companies to carry out a considerable amount of work before a building project even starts.

Lean methods and processes across the supply chain are contributing to a step change in quality, productivity and the health and safety of Ireland’s construction industry.

Benefits are accrued through the elimination of wasted time and from fewer delays on site, the reduction of material waste, duplication, errors, absenteeism and reduced snagging all collectively save significant amounts of time and money. Not surprisingly Enterprise Ireland is strongly supporting the adoption of Lean techniques which Dr Richard Keegan describes as “better, faster, cheaper, together.” Several Irish multinationals are embracing Lean principles to win business abroad and construction companies like Jones Group, Mercury Engineering and Kirby are exporting Lean services abroad, winning more work, reducing costs and offering better value to clients.

In order to keep on top of the latest advances, Irish Construction and engineering companies have a high proportion of directly employed staff and invest significant time and effort in training and development. They employ a high number of apprentices and continually enhance their staff’s development through internal programmes and by sending them overseas to learn about new methods of working.

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